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  • Writer's pictureProlicense Florida

Real Estate Agent vs Broker - What’s The Difference in Florida?

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

If you are just beginning your Florida real estate career, or coming with experience from another state, it’s important to understand the differences between a real estate agent and a broker. It is also useful to know the required qualifications and duties of these two types of real estate licenses in Florida.

Real Estate Agent VS Broker in Florida

Real Estate Agent

In Florida, the terms "real estate agent" and "sales associate" are frequently used interchangeably. The official term used by the State, "sales associate," refers to a licensed real estate professional authorized to list properties, conduct sales transactions, and represent either buyers or sellers, earning commissions in the process. These sales associates play a pivotal role in providing clients with essential information, guiding them through the contractual aspects of purchasing or selling property. Additionally, they are responsible for organizing property showings, negotiating deals, and facilitating the smooth progression of real estate transactions.


A sales associate must always work under the direction of a real estate broker in Florida.

A licensed sales associate is allowed to practice in five (5) main sales specialties of the real estate market:

  • residential

  • commercial

  • industrial

  • agricultural

  • business

They are no additional education requirements to practice in any of these specialties. Once you get your sales associate license, you are free to market your expertise in any of these fields.


  1. Get your fingerprints taken.

  2. Submit an application to the State.

  3. Pass the Florida real estate sales associate exam.

Florida has reciprocity with 10 states. Mutual recognition means that if you are licensed in one of these states, you can bypass the education requirement.


After getting your license, you will be required to complete post-licensing and continuing education to maintain your right to practice as a sales associate.


The Real Estate Broker

To become a real estate broker in Florida you must first have experience as an active Florida sales associate for at least 24 months or must have held a valid real estate license for at least 24 months in any other jurisdiction of the United States.


Brokers can operate independently, or have sales associates work for them. A broker can list and show properties just like a sales associate, but a sales associate cannot perform the duties of a broker.


Brokers oversee their sales associates, making sure their clients get the best service and that all laws are being observed. Brokers may be disciplined for failing to direct, control or manage sales associates who work under them.


A broker may elect to change her/his license from “broker” to “broker sales associate.” A “broker sales associate” is a real estate broker licensee who prefers to operate as a sales associate in the employ of another broker. A broker sales associate avoids the additional responsibilities and compliance requirements of an actual real estate broker.


To get a real estate broker license in Florida you must:

  1. Get your fingerprints taken.

  2. Submit an application to the State.

  3. Pass the Florida real estate broker exam.


The Pros of Becoming a Real Estate Broker

• More control over your career

• Earn higher income

• Establish and run a property management company

• Use your experience to get leverage in marketing


The Cons of Becoming a Real Estate Broker

• More Requirements

• More Responsibility

• More Risk


What about the term "Realtor®". What Does It Mean?

A Realtor® is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the largest trade association in the United States. The term "Realtor®" is a registered trademark and can only be used by members of the NAR. Realtors® can include real estate agents, brokers, property managers, appraisers, and other real estate industry professionals.


Conclusion

The key difference between real estate agents and brokers in Florida lies in their level of responsibility and autonomy. Real estate agents work under brokers, assisting clients in buying or selling properties. Brokers, with more experience and education, can operate independently and oversee agents. They ensure legal compliance and manage business aspects. Choosing between these roles depends on personal career goals and the desire for independence in the real estate field.

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